Things are heating up! Literally, in the sense that Arizona is bracing for record heat this weekend (and is under an “excessive heat warning” until Wednesday, 6/22), and figuratively, in that a lot of the final details in the initial build are being taken care of. It’s the latter, naturally, that I’m writing about. (I say “initial build” because it’ll be going back to R&W for final welding and any required fixes – probably to stuff I bugger up – after I’m done cutting holes for lights, wires, steering, fuel, and so on; building the tailgate; and doing whatever else I feel even slightly competent in tackling before giving up in frustration.)
First, the easy one: The transfer case shift levers have been built and installed. To the best of my knowledge, they actually *work*, too! Imagine that…
The left (longer) lever controls 2wd / 4wd (actually 4wd / 6wd, but who’s counting?), while the right (shorter) lever controls high range / neutral / low range. Because it’s a Spicer Model 18 transfer case, I can shift to low range without having to engage the front axle. It’s not recommended (and was actually prevented until I removed the shift interlock pin), but if I have to move really slowly for some reason, that makes it a bit simpler.
[Speaking of 2-, 4-, and 6-wheel-drive, Robert suggested I take a look at something called a driveshaft coupling for the ‘shaft connecting the tandem rear axles. I didn’t even know such an item existed, but it does. It’s a sleeve/collar arrangement that will uncouple a vehicle’s rear axle from the driveshaft so that it can be towed long distances – behind a motorhome, for example – without ruining the transmission. You can find an example of this product here. I don’t know if it’ll work on the ‘Monster because of the side-to-side angle my driveshaft will have, but it’s something to look into. If it *will* work, it would save wear and tear on a lot of parts!]
Second, the detailed one – the radiator and a/c condenser. This photo shows the support behind the radiator that gets attached to the frame, and to which is attached a bracket that fits into the top channel on the radiator. This allows the radiator to flex without being rigidly bolted to anything. At the top, Robert created a partial shroud to help improve the airflow through the a/c condenser. When I put everything in for reals, I might add some weatherstripping (or something similar) between the radiator and the condenser around the sides and bottom to force almost all the cooling air to come through the condenser, rather than around it.
Finally, the hardest one – the fenders. The R&W wizard (that would be Robert again) figured out how to build them so there’s space behind the wheel well and under the floorboard for a battery on each side. While the battery I’ve had since forever will sit flat on the bottom panel, I think I’m going to mount the battery boxes on the back panel of the wheel well so the battery doesn’t sit wedged in. Since the Optima battery line can be mounted in any position, an angled mount won’t cause any problems. Here are a couple of photos showing approximately where the battery will go on the passenger side.
(I placed it with the posts forward so they wouldn’t hit the sheetmetal. When the battery box is installed, the battery’ll be rotated 180 degrees so the posts are toward the back.)
Here are a couple of photos showing how the lower part of the passenger-side fender fits against the grille and against the body. You can also see the temporarily-placed footwell air vent that fits in the rectangular hole in the side of the tub.
Last, but not least, are a couple of pictures of the plywood mockup of the fender itself. Where the plywood jogs in to follow the body line, the steel will curve down to form the back of the flare, similar to the rear fender flares. These suckers are gonna be really REALLY stout!